Milwaukee Public Schools could get $88.6 million in construction funds under the stimulus bill — “even though the district has 15 vacant school buildings, a large surplus of property and no plans for new construction,” reports the Journal-Sentinel.
Enrollment is declining every year, and the last major wave of construction in MPS – the $102 million Neighborhood School Initiative launched in 2000 – resulted in projects that are underused, have not met enrollment projections or have closed. A series in the Journal Sentinel in August detailed how tens of millions of dollars in construction spending did not produce the expected results, and the project as a whole has not led to a higher percentage of students attending neighborhood schools.
In general, MPS facilities have been described by school officials as being in good to better-than-good condition.
Hasty public investment often is wasted, writes economist Greg Mankiw.